The Carolina Panthers best chance at a win ended the way most of the rest of their games have this year.
Despite an offense that played efficiently, and a few breaks, the Panthers still lost 31-16 at Tampa Bay Sunday.
RB Mike Goodson finished with 100 yards (the first Panthers back to hit that level this year), and QB Jimmy Clausen played an efficient enough game.
But the Panthers (1-8) settled for field goals too often, and had a hard time stopping Bucs QB Josh Freeman or RB LeGarrette Blount.
The Bucs moved the ball when they needed to, but the key play was a third-down conversion late, when the Panthers were within a possession. The Panthers had them backed up in their own territory when Freeman hit RB Carnell Williams for a screen pass to a wide-open left side of the field. That allowed Tampa Bay (6-3) to milk the clock and prevent the upset.
Of course, Williams ended any suspense with a 45-yard touchdown run on the next third down.
The Panthers defense was the culprit Sunday, after the other side disappointed so often.
-- Darin Gantt